• Expect a 'blockbuster' new product at Pizza Hut, says Novak

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- David Novak, chairman and CEO of Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., told listeners to an April 30 conference call to look forward to a "blockbuster" new product from its Pizza Hut chain in the coming months. He also said tests for new sandwiches and pasta dishes at Pizza Hut stores can be expected in the near future.

Despite Novak's optimism about the mystery offering, he expects Pizza Hut to generate only modest 2 percent store sales gains in 2002. For Tricon brands overall, which include Taco Bell and KFC, a 3 percent U.S. same-store sales gain is predicted for the year.

In light of Tricon's early spring announcement that it will acquire both Long John Silver's Seafood and A&W All American Foods chains, Novak hinted that the company also is investigating a possible Asian food venture. No details were disclosed, however.

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